New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees received backlash for comments he made regarding kneeling during the national anthem.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees said he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”
Many notable names in sports spoke out against Brees’ comments. This included LeBron James and Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins, Brees’ teammate, said he was disappointed and wouldn’t let the comments slide.
James posted his thoughts on twitter when he retweeted the video of Brees and his comments. The following quote is combined from two tweets that contain the full statement.
“WOW MAN!! Is it still surprising at this point? Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of [America] and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of thosemen who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you.”
The hashtag “#DrewBreesisCancelled” began to trend on twitter.
The next day, Brees attempted to apologize for his comments. He posted his full apology on his Instagram page.
View this post on Instagram
I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.
Saints Linebacker Damario Davis gave Brees credit for coming out an apologizing.
“What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community,” Davis said during an interview Thursday morning on CNN. “And he admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, ‘I missed the mark, I’ve been insensitive, but what I’m gonna start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them,’ I think that’s a model for all of America.”
For others, it was not good enough.
New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers tweeted in response to Brees, “Nah, we heard you the first time.”
Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris said Brees took the wrong routes.
“Take this for what it is, if you’re trying to issue an apology, a press release is not the route. Take your *explicit* on camera and apologize. Then go take some actions forward to show us/yourself that you actually are sorry. Morning@drewbrees.”
Audio in the story courtesy of ABC Newscall